The Greens’ Midwinter Ball Protest Dresses Have Divided The Internet
The ball made headlines last month after it was revealed to be sponsored by major fossil fuel companies and lobby groups.
The internet is divided after key figures from Australian politics, media and business gathered at Parliament House on Wednesday night for the Federal Parliament Press Gallery Midwinter Ball — which was sponsored by fossil fuel companies and lobby groups.
Sponsors of the event — which is a major charity fundraiser — included Shell and Woodside Energy, as well as lobbying groups Hawker Britton (Equinor) and Nexus APAC Group (Glencore).
The event made headlines last month after independent Senator David Pocock called for changes to future sponsors of the event amid the ongoing climate crisis. Despite his criticism, Junkee can confirm that Pocock did attend the Midwinter Ball, but did give a speech outside of the event regarding sponsors.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young attended the event wearing a gown that mimicked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s infamous Met Gala look in protest of the coal and gas sponsors.
— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) September 7, 2022
Greens leader Adam Bandt also attended the event with his wife Claudia Perkins, who wore a similar dress in protest of coal and gas.
Adam Bandt and his wife Claudia Perkins, attending the Midwinter Ball, sponsored by Shell and Woodside Energy. pic.twitter.com/qGLSFDjMbA
— Whiny Chook (@Whiny_Bimbo) September 7, 2022
The statement frocks provoked mixed reactions online.
Some praised the dresses for being “fantastic” and “iconic”.
Claudia Perkins is iconic.👸🏼🔥 https://t.co/2IcVt5y0SW
— Jill Stark (@jillastark) September 7, 2022
— Jacqui (@calinemilou) September 7, 2022
Now this is a dress I can get behind
Greens turn heads with protest against gas and coal at Canberra's Midwinter Ballhttps://t.co/XcFLzMlPtF
— GrannyAnnie 💉💉💉💉 (@F1_Annette) September 8, 2022
However, others pointed out the irony of attending a ball sponsored by fossil fuel companies while protesting said fossil fuels.
Attending the Midwinter Ball is tone-deaf especially at a time when inflation is biting for people who aren't politicians. Extra own-goal marks awarded to the women who copied AOC's Met Ball dress concept for being both cringe and derivative.
— Gillian Dempsey (@catedempsey) September 8, 2022
Yeah nah. Fuck this cushy event and everyone who goes to it. https://t.co/nqhCVuJkQt
— Kel (@kellulz) September 7, 2022
Others simply asserted that political statement outfits should not be accepted if the dresses are ugly.
at some point we have to stop accepting political statements via outfits if the outfits are ugly https://t.co/IhO2FqEZSG
— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) September 7, 2022
In addition to protest frocks, someone in attendance at the event was able to plaster a Fossil Ad Ban sticker over the corporate sponsorship board.
Thanks to the legend that put our stickers over fossil fuel sponsor names inside the #midwinterball
And for those who used the ball to say #EndFossilFuels
— Fossil Ad Ban (@FossilAdBan) September 7, 2022
While three Greens representatives attended the event, others took to social media to announce they would not attend the ball due to its connection to coal and gas.
Senator Jordon Steele-John called the event “sickening”.
Watching MPs swan about in suits and sparkles at an event openly sponsored by coal and gas is frankly sickening. When contrasted with the reality of the climate crisis in places like Pakistan, in places like Lismore, we see where the political class’ priorities lie.
— Senator Jordon Steele-John (@SenatorJordon) September 7, 2022
Greens Senate Leader Larissa Waters also boycotted the event, but noted she was pleased the organisers are reconsidering future sponsorship opportunities.
I won't be at the Midwinter Ball tonight, because it's once again sponsored by Shell & Woodside. I'm pleased organisers have said they'll reconsider for next year. I'd be at the @PCA_Australia People’s Alternative Ball if I wasn't in the chamber debating the Climate Change Bill.
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) September 7, 2022
Other attendees included Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, as well as prominent members of the media from ABC, SBS, Nine and News Corp.
The event raised $350,000 for charity, which will be split among a number of causes.
Junkee has reached out to the Greens for comment.